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Family sexual assault


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A curse on my pathetic social skills and empathetic dearth.

This might be triggering for sexual assault. So please proceed with caution.

I am at a loss here. This is one situation in which my lack of social skills is a serious handicap. I could stand some advice, if anyone is willing. I feel like I have a duty here, but I'm way out of my depth.

So...I just found out that my cousin by marriage was indicted on multiple counts of sexually assaulting a minor. The victim is thirteen this year. The assaults started in 2009.

Obviously, the news is keeping the victim out it the coverage. The official designation is "a girl." However, my cousin, to whom this attacker is married, has two little twin sisters who are of the listed age for the victim. The thought that this could have happened to one or both of my little cousins in their own home has made me want to reach out to the family and find out if, first, it was one of the girls, and second, if there's anything I can do to offer support.

However, I don't know how to offer. Can I just call and ask my aunt? Is that something that is okay to do? I'm very close to my aunt, but not so much the twins. There's a bit of an age gap. I mostly hassle them on Facebook about liking One Direction. :P But I would still like to at least say I care, and ask if there's anything I can do, in the event that one of them was the victim. Is it okay to do that? Is it intrusive? Obviously, I would clear it with my aunt first. She's the one who knows them, and I would ask her first if it was one of the girls, and if it's okay for me to talk to them.

It'll be easier with the cousin who was married to the attacker. She was the one who turned him in, and I know she'll need some support. But I grew up with her. I can call her and say what she'll need to hear, because I know her and it's okay that I do that.

I'm just not sure what to do after that.

Any advice would be REALLY appreciated. This sucks. I want to get it right, but I don't know enough about boundaries to be sure.

Thanks, as always.

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Unfortunately, the best I can come up with is "follow your heart."

These people know you. They will know that you're trying to reach out.


When I had people suddenly find out, I wanted people to ask if I was okay. I would have said yes regardless, but it would have been nice to be asked. Instead, everyone asked my mum. She was my mum! Of course I was going to be okay for her! She didn't know that I was suicidal, because it would have broken her heart! It would have been nice to know that someone was on my side for me. Not for her.


I wish you well with whatever you go with. I hope that you keep us update. I hope that you can look after you, too. I imagine that this is very hard.

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The only thing I can tell you is to do what you think is right.  When ze kid let people know about what was going on, ze didn't want to talk about it at all.  People in the family would say something to console ze kid and that would start a whole cascade of stuff.  Ze kid opens up about it to me but not really anyone else.  I think it depends on the kid involved.

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Thank you both very much. This is really valuable.

Rosie, I appreciate the perspective. It was my first thought to not bring it up with my cousin herself because I don't want to upset or pressure her, but that's illogical. If it was one of my cousins, I'd like to reach out to her. I had a lengthy heart to heart a couple of years ago with my niece about self-harm, and she confides in me now. I would gladly offer that support again. I already have both of the twins added to my Facebook. It would be a simple matter to message both of them my phone number and offer to listen. I'm sure it's hard on both of then.

Tastybutt, that's what I'm afraid of. This is really sensitive, and I don't want to upset her. But at least if I reach out and she doesn't want to talk, I can leave that door open in case she changes her mind.

The more I think about it, the more I want to call my aunt and ask her if it was one of the girls. I know my aunt wouldn't mind me wanting to talk to the girls if it turns out that it was.

Thanks again. I will keep you all posted. I greatly appreciate everything.

Edited by Mim
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Thanks again for the help. I promised an update, so here goes:

First, it turns out that it was one of my little cousins who was attacked. I approached her a few days ago over Facebook, and she hasn't replied, so I'm leaving it there for the time being. I told her that the offer to talk was good six days or six years from now, day or night. So that's all I can do. I also gave her the support resources listed here in the PTSD forum, so maybe, if she's not comfortable talking to me, she can do some reading, or talk to others anonymously. She's a smart girl, and she'll make good use of the info.

My aunt and uncle are not doing so well. My aunt asked that nobody come and visit for the time being. So I'm going to give it a little bit, to let them have some space, and then go see them, maybe with food. That's kinda how we work it in our family; if it's really important, show up with something to eat. :P

I've gone as far as I can and still respect boundaries, I think.

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  • 4 weeks later...

 Your Aunt Most likely doesn't know what to do either, it's a huge shock. I would say phone her and offer to help in any way you can.



The fact that you care so much about thinking what way is best to help them is a good thing.

Edited by isthisit?
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